JustLaur @justlaurnow

If you think you are a trans woman but are still uncomfortable calling yourself a woman and to claim that term for yourself, don't worry. It's pretty normal and it's no accident that so many of us use "trans girl" a lot. Doesn't mean you are not sure or not trans enough.

JustLaur @justlaurnow

It took me months after coming out as "not a dude" before I could even claim "girl" and several months of being full time before I felt like I had the "right" to call myself a woman.

There were just too many connotations and expectations of lived experience I hadn't had.

JustLaur @justlaurnow

It's ok to just go with girl for now or ever if that's how you feel. Especially early in your transition, you are basically prepubescent again, so it's quite fitting in some ways.

Don't feel pressured to claim the term "woman" if you don't feel it yet.

JustLaur @justlaurnow

I remember knowing deep down that I was a woman and being so fucking scared of it, I couldn't even say it in my head, yet alone actually vocalize it.

I had a friend literally say "I think you have an answer to your gender question, you are just not ready to say it yet".

The message in these tweets is awesome, but I want to unpack the “trans girl” sentiment.

Those immersed in feminism are well aware of the “girl” vs “woman” concern, but here’s a quick distillation: Where “woman” describes an adult, “girl” describes a child. The use of “girl” in reference to an adult woman or a group of women is inherently patronizing, meant to strip women of their maturity and respect, especially when used by men.

This is, of course, contextual; used in the right tone “girl” can also a statement of camaraderie, an acknowledgment of sisterhood between women, or an address of mutual respect. There’s also been an effort to reclaim “girl” as a term of power and intelligence.

These are the ideas that Laura is referring to in her first tweet. Trans women are well aware of these dynamics. Even upon accepting ourselves as transgender, it can be hard to claim the word “woman” because it bears a level of maturity that they don’t feel they have earned. We use the inherent age denotation in the word “girl” to describe our own lack of familiarity with womanhood and the process of coming into our own identities as women.

A similar evolution often comes surrounding the term “lesbian”. Early in my transition I struggled to accept that term, opting more towards just “gay” or at best “sapphic”, because I didn’t feel like I had experienced the life lessons yet to claim that title as someone who had always been perceived as a heterosexual man. When I did use it, I used it categorically, and often with a disclaimer. It wasn’t until after I had been out and full-time for a year and I came into my own womanhood that I finally lost that feeling of inadequacy.

Impostor syndrome is a bitch. It’s ok to feel like you don’t deserve the title yet. That doesn’t mean you don’t, and it doesn’t mean you aren’t actually a woman (or a man, as this all applies to trans men as well), it just means you have something to work towards. In the mean time, if you’re struggling to find that confidence, carry on anyway, and the confidence will follow through with experience.